Lower East Side Tenement MuseumA Distinctive Destination
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A National Trust Historic Site, the Tenement Museum tells one of America’s most important stories: how immigrants became American, and how America became a nation. Visitors enjoy guided tours of recreated homes and businesses inside the museum's two restored historic tenement buildings, which were home to over 15,000 immigrants from more than 20 nations between 1863 and the turn of the 21st century. Take a walk with guides, and explore the Lower East Side then and now, sample immigrant cuisine, and “meet” the residents. These personal stories offer a new understanding of life in the past and what it means to be a new American.
For more than two decades, the Tenement Museum has fulfilled its mission to make tangible the profound role immigration plays in shaping American identity. The museum forges powerful emotional connections between visitors and immigrants past and present, and unforgettably evokes the history of immigration on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, America’s iconic immigrant neighborhood. Two historic tenements on Orchard Street, home to an estimated 15,000 people from more than 20 nations between 1863 and 2000, represent the heart of the museum. Visitors view restored apartments and retail spaces in the buildings, explore the surrounding neighborhood's history and culture, and experience how immigrants weathered hard times and built new lives.
One of the fastest growing cultural institutions in New York City, the Tenement Museum will welcome more than 225,000 visitors this year. Many young visitors are living the immigrant experience right now, and come away with an inspiring sense that their families, too, are making history.As an ongoing research project, the Tenement Museum makes significant contributions to urban, social, and architectural history and is a cultural anchor and economic engine for the Lower East Side
“When you tour the museum, you come away with a powerful sense of immigration as a human experience…”Paul Krugman, The New York Times
The Tenement Museum’s core programming includes more than 12 different tours of 97 Orchard Street and the Lower East Side that vividly convey immigrant experiences. Personal stories of immigrant families allow visitors to encounter immigration as an essential force in shaping this country and to absorb how much our open society, democratic institutions, cultural creativity, and economic vitality owe to our experience as a nation of immigrants.
In its recently acquired tenement at 103 Orchard Street, the Tenement Museum is recreating the homes of Holocaust survivors, Puerto Rican migrants, and Chinese immigrants. This expansion will enable the Museum to explore the end of the quota system and the nation’s return to historic American ideals in admitting immigrants.
The Tenement Museum is an affiliate site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Benefits for National Trust Members
50% Discount on Regular Public Tours
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National Trust Historic Sites are open! We encourage you to check directly with each site for up-to-date information on available activities, ticketing, and guidelines if you are planning a visit.Plan Your Visit